94th Congress 1
2d Session J
COMMITTEE PRINT NO. 17
SAFEGUARDS IN THE DOMESTIC
A REPORT PREPARED BY
THE SUBCOMMITTEE ON ENERGY ANj^y
THE ENVIRONMENT | £ /
INTERIOR AND INSULAR AFFAIRS t ^Z *,>''
U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
Printed for the use of the
Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs
U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE
WASHINGTON : 1976
COMMITTEE ON INTERIOR AND INSULAR AFFAIRS
House of Representatives
HALEY, Florida, Chairman
JOE SKUB1TZ, Kansas, Ranking Minority Member
SAM STEIGER, Arizona
DON H. CLAUSEN, California
PHILIP E. RUPPE, Michigan
MANUEL LUJAN, Jr., New Mexico
KEITH G. SEBELIUS, Kansas
ALAN STEELMAN, Texas
DON YOUNG, Alaska
ROBERT E. B A UMAX, Maryland
STEVEN D. SYMMS, Idaho
JAMES P. (JIM) JOHNSON, Colorado
ROBERT J. LAGOMARSINO, California
VIRGINIA SMITH, Nebraska
SHIRLEY N. PETTIS, California
ROY A. TAYLOR, North Carolina
HAROLD T. JOHNSON, California
MORRIS K, UDALL, Arizona
PHILLIP BURTON, California
ROBERT W. KASTENME1ER, Wisconsin
PATSY T. MINK, Hawaii
LLOYD MEEDS, Washington
ABRAHAM KAZEN, Jr., Texas
ROBERT G.STEPHENS, Jr., Georgia
JOSEPH P. VIGORITO, Pennsylvania
JOHN MELCHER. Momana
TENO RO NT ALIO, Wyoming
JONATHAN B. BINGHAM, New York
JOHN F. SEIBERLING, Ohio
HAROLD K I - N NELS, New Mexico
ANTONIO BOKIA WON PAT, Guam
RON de LUGO, Virgin Islands
BOB E( KUARDT, Texas
OOODLOE E. BYRON, Maryland
JAIME BENITEZ, Puerto Rico
l'Ai L E. TSONOA8, Massachusetts
ALLAN T. HOWE, Utah
JAMES WEAVER, Oregon
BOB CARH, Michigan
CEORGE MILLKR, California
THEODORE M. (TED) R1SENHOOVER,
JAMES J. FLORIO, New Jersey
Chari.es Coxki.ix. Staff Director
Lee McEi.vain, General Counsel
Mkhaki. C. Mardex, Minority Counsel
Henry R. Myers, Special Consultant on Xuclear i:nergy\\latter$
SlIiCOMMITTEE ON ENERGY AND THE ENVIRONMENT
MORRIS K. UDALL, Arizona, Chairman
ALAN STEELMAN, Texas
JOE SEE B1TZ, Kansas
SAM BTEIGER, Arizona
man I EL Ei JAN, Jb., New Mexico
Robert e. batman, Maryland
S TEA EN I). 8 V.M.MS. Idaho
JAIME BENITEZ, Puerto Rico
jonai HAN B. BINGHAM, New York
BOB CARR, Michigan
ro.n Di, LUGO, Virgin islands
BOB ECKHARDT, 1
joiin MELCHER, Montana
GEORGE MILLER, California
TENO BONCALIO, Wyoming
JOHN E. BEIBERLING, Ohio
]-A i L E. I BON1 IAS, Men id
I'll p, \ [OORITO, Pennsylvania
JAMES W i. \\ BR, On
Bl \M.KV I'.. SroviI.i.K, Stejff Counsel
Mk il \ii. E. MKTZ, Minoft\\st<i11 Counsel
Kon Tin f i r t listed minority member is counterpart i<> the subcommittee chairman.
LETTERS OF TRANSMITTAL
Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs,
U.S. House of Representatives,
Washington, D.C., September 8, 1976.
Members of the Committee on.,,,*,-^*
Interior and Insular Affairs,
U.S. House of Representatives,
Dear Colleagues: A major concern of the Committee's Subcom-
mittee on Energy and the Environment is the problem of security
in the domestic nuclear industry. This is the problem of protecting
against theft of materials from which nuclear explosives might be
constructed. It is also the problem of safeguarding against sabotage
that could result in radioactive materials being released into the
Since this is a matter of concern to all of us, I am forwarding to
you the following report based on the subcommittee's efforts in the
area of domestic safeguards.
James A. Haley, Chairman.
Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs,
U.S. House of Representatives,
Washington, B.C., September 1, 1976.
Hon. James A. Haley,
Chairman, Committee on Interior and Insular Affairs, U.S. House of
Representatives, Washington, B.C.
Dear Mr. Chairman : Transmitted herewith is a report concerning
security in the domestic nuclear industry. The report is based on
hearings before the subcommittee and on materials the subcommittee
has received subsequent to the hearings. The hearings, held Febru-
ary 26 and 27, were chaired at my request by my colleague, Paul
Information provided us indicates a major discrepancy between the
security threats the Nuclear Regulatory Commission believes to be
plausible and the security measures required to protect against such
threats. The Commission has failed to make hard choices about
security in the nuclear industry; it should decide either that the threat
to security is overblown and that existing protection systems are
adequate, or it should decide the threat is, or could well be, of major
proportions and that much more stringent measures are needed.
This failure to choose confuses further the debate over nuclear
policy and this confusion and indecision adds to the Congress prob-
lems in weighing the arguments presented us by the various factions.
I believe the following report and hearing record on which it is
based will be of considerable assistance to the Congress in under-
standing the problem of security in the nuclear industry.
Morris K. Udall,
Chairman, Subcommittee on Energy
and the Environment!
Letters of Transmittal in
I. The Threat 3
II. Reactor Sabotage 6
III. Material Accounting and Control 8
IV. Adequacy of Safeguards Systems 9
V. Conclusions 11
A. Government Operation of Nuclear Material Transportation System—. 12
B. Letter from Hon. Marcus A. Rowden, Chairman, U.S. Nuclear Reg-
ulatory Commission, to Hon. Morris K. Udall, chairman, Subcom-
mittee on Energy and the Environment, dated July 20, 1976 15
Digitized by the Internet Archive
SAFEGUARDS* IN THE DOMESTIC NUCLEAR INDUSTRY
On February 26 and 27, 1976, the House Interior and Insular
Affairs Committee's Subcommittee on Energy and the Environment,
pursuant to its nuclear oversight responsibilities, held hearings con-
cerning security in the domestic nuclear industiy. The hearings were
held in consequence of events occurring early in 1976 which called to
question the ability of the nuclear industry's security systems to
protect against theft and sabotage. Among the events were:
Release of a memorandum written by the Director of the
Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Division of Safeguards
which contained a statement of concern that currently licensed
facilities might not have safeguards adequate against the threat
being considered as the basis for planning in NRC safeguards
Appearance of failures in the safeguards system at an Erwin,
Tenn. facility which handled substantial quantities of highly
A petition by the Natural Resources Defense Council to the
Nuclear Regulatory Commission asserting insufficient security
and requesting either that security be upgraded or that certain
facilities be required to shut down.
At the outset, the acting chairman, Congressman Paul Tsongas,
stressed the subcommittee's concern that there be public under-
standing of the safeguards problem:
If we are to have nuclear power, it is essential that not only should hazards
be small, but that the public be aware of what those hazards are. Mere assurances
that everything is all right will not suffice.
During the course of the hearing, the subcommittee sought infor-
mation with regard to the nature of threats against which protection
was required, with regard to steps necessary- to provide protection
against these threats, and with regard to whether the requisite meas-
ures were in effect. The purpose was to develop a base for a subcom-
mittee judgment as to the adequacy of security against current and
This report contains analysis and conclusions based primarily
on the February 26 and 27 hearing record and subsequent communi-
cations between the subcommittee and the Nuclear Regulatory Com-
mission. Section I addresses the nature of the threat to security.
Section II concerns nuclear reactors' intrinsic vulnerability (or lack
thereof) to sabotage. Section III discusses nuclear material ac-
counting and control s}'stems.
Section IV discusses safeguards system adequacy. Conclusions are
presented in section V. Appendix A addresses the question of Federal
* For purposes of this report, "Safeguards" refers to security systems designed to protect against malevo-
lent acts which could lead to release of radioactive substances into the environment.
operation of the s}'stem which transports materials that could be
fabricated into nuclear explosives. Appendix B is an NRC letter
responding to a subcommittee request for information with regard
to the adequacy of security measures.
Unless otherwise noted "hearing record" refers to "Oversight
Hearings on Nuclear Energy — Safeguards in the Domestic Nuclear
Industry"; U.S. Congress, House Committee on Interior and Insular
Affairs, Subcommittee on Energ}' and the Environment, 94th Con-
gress, 2d session, February 26 and 27, 1976, serial No. 94-16, part VI.
I. The Threat
The use of nuclear energy for electric power generation leads to
production of substantial quantities of plutonium and radioactive
residuals of the fission process. Plutonium and highly enriched uranium
in amounts of 20 pounds or more might be fabricated into nuclear
explosives; plutonium in very small quantities is exceedingly toxic.
The radioactive byproducts of the fission process, if released from their
containers, have the potential for causing a widespread hazard to
human health. Because of the dangerous nature of these materials,
great care must be taken to insure that they do not come under
control of persons with malevolent intent. Plutonium and highly
enriched uranium must be protected against theft; nuclear reactors,
spent fuel repositories, and fuel reprocessing plants must be guarded
against those who would threaten or cause actions leading to release of
radioactive materials contained therein.
Testimoirv before the subcommittee showed that those responsible
for nuclear security must consider a diversity of threats: theft of
plutonium by criminals who might sell the material to a nation wishing
to possess nuclear weapons, but not having a means of producing nu-
clear explosive materials; theft by terrorists intent on building their
own nuclear bomb or plutonium dispersal device; threat or conduct of
sabotage by terrorists seeking to create social disorder; and sabotage by
deranged individuals. Witnesses disagreed widely with regard to how
likely it was that such threats would materialize; they disagreed about
willingness of conspirators to incur risks in carrying out illicit action :
about whether threatening groups would have the requisite skill and
resources; and about motivations to cause widespread death and de-
struction. A sampling of the expert views follows.
Dr. Bowyer Bell, of Columbia University and an expert on revo-
lutionary violence said :
There is about the entire subject of nuclear terrorism a dreadful lack of precision.
There can be no absolute assurances. There may be those with the will, capacity,
and the desire to steal plutonium or detonate a bomb in a powerplant to cause a
meltdown. The chances are slim that there are many so inclined in the United
States and slimmer that a foreign organization will be so attracted. But in nuclear
matters a qualitative estimate that the threat is remote is cold comfort. Somewhat
more reassuring is the obstacle facing any such terrorist venture; yet the ter-
rorist may assume a vulnerability where little exists, may launch a failed operation
so spectacular that a frightened public will perceive a present danger. 1
Brian Jenkins, Hand Corp. director of research on political con-
spiracy and violence, guerrilla warfare and international terrorism
presented testimony stressing the importance of keeping nuclear-
terrorism in perspective:
We should not exaggerate the threat. The potential consequences of serious
sabotage leading to a radioactive release, the fabrication of an illicit nuclear
explosive device, or plutonium contamination are serious. But I have tried to
point out why some of the more horrendous scenarios in which hundreds or
thousands of lives might be imperiled appear less likelj .
Hearing record, p. 60.
There are disincentives, even among those we call terrorists, to carry out these
extreme acts. And they are not that easy to accomplish. Planting a bomb at a
tourist attraction or seizing hostages in a consulate is a far easier task than
destroying a nuclear reactor or making — not designing, but making — a nuclear
bomb. We should not overestimate the capabilities of terrorist-.
They tend to operate at a low level of efficiency. 2
Dr. Douglas DeXike, a clinical psychologist and technical consultant
with California^ for Nuclear Safeguards, presented a more pessimistic
. . . The general problem of crime and violence is enormous, and it is still
increasing . . ..
It h said, "'Terrorists want a lot of people watching, not a lot of people
dead . . . mass casualties simply may not serve the terrorists' goals." This
formulation appears to be a frail reed upon which to lean, since any newsperson
will readily grant that the more people dead in a given atrocity, the more people
will be watching the account on the evening news . . ..
Even apparently overwhelming odds in favor of nuclear facility security forces
might not deter those possessed of this kind of (extremist) mentality. While it is
king to divide domestic insurgents into hot-blooded and cold-blooded categor-
ch a distinction would have limited application. The very same groups can
show signs of crafty calculative ability at some times, and intemperate quasi-
delusional behavior at others. 3
A hedged assessment of the threat was presented by Mr. Kenneth
Chapman, Director of the XRC's Office of Nuclear Material Safety
There is no information available to us which indicates that any group is plan-
ning an act of theft or sabotage against the licensed nuclear industry at this time.
Nevertheless, there i- a continuing potential for insiders to execute malevolent
act-; or to provide assistance to outsiders in the execution of acts which could
re.-ult in adver-e impacts on the Nation.
Furthermore, there are organizations with malevolent intent which could
; ability to carry out operations against the licensed nuclear power
Our studies have concluded that there is evidence to support the possibility that
: threat groups may be highly motivated and disciplined; well equipped and
financed; well trained; well prepared to execute the tasks they have selected.
The exact threat then, to summarize, cannot be predicted with confidence,
since it is an inherently uncertain problem and history is an unsure guide to the
future. M; Qt, however, based on currently available evidence and expert
'•pinion is that an attack on nuclear facilities would likely stem from a relatively
-rnall number of persons possibly aided by an insider. 4
Following the hearing, the NRC was requested to be more specific
with regard to the throat. The subcommittee asked:
What ki: pertise, and capabilities arc assumed t<> be
by tl.i >r groups?
The NRC response submitted lor the record was a- follow-:
NIK." feels that it • that adversaries may v of the following:
^automatic pistols and rifles; automatic pistols and rifles;
Mlbmachin I grenades; machine guns (up to 50 caliber);
dynai shaped charges; citisen band radios; two-way radios;
genera] and Bpecial purpose vehicles; aircraft (fixed-wing and helicopter); tear g.-i^,
M.U L. etc; light mortars;* hand held air and light antitank
tvaflfcbfe to tonuvtot groups.
::idual and team skills. — Nuclear materials identification and handling;
radiation monitoring and safety; communications; intelligence and security
(reconnaissance, surveillance and alarm sys: ::ical ope: mbat
experience) ; pioneer (demolition, structure and barrier breeching.) ; transportation;
Terrorist groups (especially foreign) and organized crime are well known t _
adequate resources to : highly or e .ell-planned, and extremely
violent and disruptive acts. Theref ore, XR 1 '. .: that
potential adversaries might possess any of the above described :
The NBC also indicated in a July 20. 1976 letter to the subcom-
mittee that for purposes of its review of adequacy of securit
assumes a group consisting "at a minimum, of three well-armed, well-
trained persons, who might possess inside knowledge or assistance." :
II. Reactor Sabotage
One session of the hearing series focused on the question of the
vulnerability of reactors to sabotage of a kind that would lead to the
release of substantial quantities of radioactive materials into the
atmosphere. Recognizing that vulnerability to sabotage is not en-
tirely independent of the resources and motivations of those who
might undertake such sabotage, the subcommittee sought informa-
tion to indicate what kinds of difficulties might confront a saboteur.
Several of the witnesses held the view that the design and con-
struction characteristics that made reactors safe with respect to acci-
dents also made them safe against sabotage. However, an inference
from the totality of the testimony is that while security from sabotage
can be achieved, such invulnerability may not exist at all operating
On the one hand, to indicate invulnerability in principle, there is
testimony of Dr. David McCloskey, Director of XRC-sponsored
reactor sabotage studies at the Sandia Corp.:
These acts of sabotage in a nuclear powerplant could be highly destructive and
expensive to the operating utility, but we feel that it is extremely unlikely that
they would cause a radioactive release.
Sabotage which might endanger the public could only be carried out by knowl-
edgeable, capable personnel having a high degree of technical competence. Such
an attack would require thorough planning and coordination in order to mount
an effort to bypass the plant security system and to disable or destroy elements
of several plant systems in the multiple plant defenses against a radioactive
In prepared statements other witnesses made a similar point.
Dr. NormaD Rasmussen, professor of nuclear engineering at M.l.T.
and Director of the \K("s Reactor Safety Study stated:
The conclusion that it would be difficult to cause serious public damage was
not based upon the degree of difficulty in overcoming the security system of the
plant, but rather the difficulty of damaging all the equipment n< 0608*17 to cause
a Lai <>f radioactivity.
A- you know, nuclear plants have numerous systems whose function IS to
minimize such a risk. It would take a person very knowl< dgeable in the details of
the plant as well as sabotage techniques to accomplish tin-.
!f one looks at the senseless, terrorist acts that have been carried out in recent
one finds that rarely do they exhibit the degree of sophistication required
for successful nuclear plant sabotage.*
In another prepared statement, Mr. Bernard Cherry of General
Public Utilities Corp. of New Jersey said:
it is extremely unlikely that an act of sabotage can result in harm to the general
In view of the difficulties in initiating potentially serious accident sequences,
the favorable conclusions regarding nuclear powerplant safety are not diminished
by the threat of ad • of sabotage
■ i, 1 1. <>.
On the other hand, there was also testimony casting doubt as to
whether the potential invulnerability had been achieved in practice.
Such testimony was received from Robert Pollard, a former NRC
emplo}"ee who resigned his position because of his concerns about
nuclear safety. In his former position, Mr. Pollard had engaged in
preparation of design standards and in review of reactor safety system
design. He stated:
In our review of license applications on the NRC staff, we do not consider at
all the possibility for sabotage in deciding whether or not a particular design is
This suggests that actual designs may not take into account the
possibility of sabotage. For example, Mr. Pollard suggested that in
some situations vital and redundant safety s^-stems could be made
ineffective by relativel}' simple acts of sabotage because of the manner
in which control cables were configured. Air. Pollard thus implies that
if a person bent on sabotage were to gain access to an area through
which vital cables passed there might be opportunity to prevent opera-
tion of redundant systems, possibly leading to a loss of ability to cool
the reactor and hence to a core meltdown.
Prevention of this kind of act would thus appear to depend upon
first, saboteurs not knowing the physical location of such vulnerabil-
ities, and second the ability of the physical security system to prevent
access to areas in which the vulnerable systems are situated. If this be
the case, there is reason to doubt Professor Rasmussen's conclusion that
the public was protected against harm from saboteurs not because of
the difficulty in overcoming the plant security system, but because of
the difficulty of damaging equipment to the extent that a large release
of radioactivity would be caused.
In fact, Rasmussen himself, said in response to Pollard's comment
that the NRC regulatory staff paid insufficient attention to cable
Yes, and I think that this is a case, where doggone it, if the staff doesn't start
looking at it after this ej^e-opener, 5 they darn well ought to. 6
Finally, while the thrust of the McCloskey testimony was that
reactor sabotage was a problem which could be satisfactorily dealt
with in principle, McCloskey was vague as to whether this invul-
nerability existed in practice. For example, he speaks of the Sandia
sabotage study recommendations having all been taken into account
in proposed NRC regulations (regulations which are not yet in effect) ;
but McCloske}^ does not say how many of the recommendations, in
addition to being taken into account, actually were translated into the
proposed regulations. 7 This leaves open the question as to how close
the actual security systems come to the level implicit in McCloskey's
« Ibid., p. 103.
* This is in reference to the fire at TVA's Brown's Ferry nuclear generating station which occurred on
March 22, 1975. The fire was initiated by a workman using a candle to test for air leaks at a point where
electric control cables passed through a wall. The fire damaged several hundred control cables, causing fail-
ure of certain safety systems. Brown's Ferry units 1 and 2 have not vet reentered service.
• Ibid., p. 113.
7 "The proposed NRC regulations published in November 1974 for comment took account of our recom-
mendations and would implement certain of these." Ibid., p. 86.
III. Material Accounting and Control
Proper design of facilities and careful accounting of materials can
prevent surreptitious theft of nuclear materials by persons familiar
with the workings of a facility. However, the usefulness of material
accounting procedures is limited by the inherent accuracy of measure-
The revelation of large uncertainties with regard to inventories of
highly enriched uranium at a plant in Erwin, Tenn., raised the
question of the degree of accuracy that might be expected from
material accounting and control systems. Further doubts concerning
the accuracy of these systems were raised by a recent report prepared
by the Government Accounting Office and submitted to the Sub-
committee on Energy and the Environment of the House Small
In view of apparent limitations on the accuracy of material account-
ing systems, the subcommittee requested the NRC to state its view of
the role of such systems in the overall safeguards process. The NRC
Material control — comprised of access controls, containment, and material
accounting — reinforce the protection provided b}- physical security measures and
provides a quantitative basis for material accountability. Material control meas-
ures are especially effective against internal diversion where the participants have
authorized passage through barriers and access to material in the normal course
The material accounting system can deter and detect, but not prevent the
theft or diversion of material. The accounting system should be capable of con-
tinuously tracking the location and the movement of all discrete items and con-
tainers of SNM on inventory and of monitoring the in-process inventory for indi-
cators of diversion. Through shipper-receiver comparisons, data monitoring pro-
grams, and periodic physical inventor}' cheeks, the accounting system provides
positive assurance that SNM is indeed present. Should a significant loss of material
occur, the system should be capable of identifying the general location and the
quantity of material involved. The accounting system provides backup detection
capability for theft and diversion which circumvent detection capabilities pro-
vided by physical security and other material control measures. Internal audits
are directed to assuring that records have not been falsified.
Reliance cannot be placed Bolely on material accounting to debet theft ami
diversion because the effectiveness of the system is limited by timeliness and
measurement uncertainties. Inventory discrepancies caused by measurement un-
certainties will continue to occur in nuclear plants, especially, where chemical
processing and -crap recovery are required. Accordingly, NRC i- working on In-
depth protection systems to prevent, deter, detect, and defeat any attempt to
illicitly remove nuclear material from facilities. 1
The inference from this is that prevention of diversion of small but
significant quantities of plutonium depends not upon material account-
ems but, upon tight control of access to and egress from plant
areas from which plutonium of highly enriched uranium might he
[bid., p. I'M :
IV. Adequacy of Security Systems
The subcommittee heard conflicting views with regard to the
ability of existing and future security systems to protect against
nuclear malevolence. Testimony at the hearings by representatives of
the NRC, ERDA, and industry concluded, in effect, that safeguards
were now adequate and could be improved should the threat level
increase over that which was currently perceived. For example, in
summarizing his assessment of the ability of safeguards SA'stems to
deter and defeat attempts at theft and sabotage, Mr. Chapman in
his capacity as Director of NEC's Office of Nuclear Materials Safety
and Safeguards stated :
Present nuclear industry security measures are expected to deter most attacks
and to prevent the success of such attacks as are attempted. It should be noted
that the nuclear industry has customarily taken the approach of going beyond
the normal precautions taken elsewhere in society in facing uncertain contingen-
cies. The same conservative approach is being taken in nuclear safeguards, to the
extent that we believe the total safeguards system for the industry, including
onsite and offsite security forces, can protect against theft or sabotage attempts by
groups larger than those thought to constitute the most likely threat.
May I sa}^ in closing, Mr. Chairman, that my operating philosophy is that
one should never be quite satisfied with the status quo in safeguards. Safeguards
will always be under review and will always be evolving. We will continue to make
changes in our programs as conditions warrant and as new technologies develop.
We are confident we can now design cost-effective systems for the future by using
practical, available solutions; by keeping closely attuned to ERDA's R. & D.
programs; and by striving to attain inherently secure plant designs utilizing the
proper balance of guards, security devices and material control and accounting
Testimony presented by representatives of the Natural Resources
Defense Council (NRDC) maintained that security was inadequate
to protect against the threats the NRC appeared to consider plausible.
Prior to the hearings the NRDC had petitioned the NRC to require
either an upgrading of security at certain facilities or that these
facilities not be allowed to possess significant quantities of plutonium
or highly enriched uranium.
To substantiate their assertion concerning the inadequacy of
security, the NRDC witnesses cited the previously noted memoran-
dum of the Director of the NRC Division of Safeguards which con-
tained the statement :
I am concerned that some or even many of our currently licensed facilities may
not have safeguards which are adequate against the lowest levels of design threat
we are considering in GESMO. (January 19, 1976 memorandum from Carl Builder
to Ronald Brightsen.)
The NRDC also cited the transcript of a meeting at which members
of it and the NRC were present. The subject was the adequacy of
domestic safeguards. Of particular concern was the NRC contention
that two guards armed with shotguns and .38 caliber handguns
could hold off an intruding group until reinforcements in the form of
local and State law enforcement authorities could arrive.
Ibid., p. 150-151.
Also relevant to the question of whether guards could protect a
facility until outside help arrived is the issue of how guards are
instructed with respect to use of their weapons. A report prepared by
the Safeguards Policy Committee of the Atomic Industrial Forum
(a group representing the nuclear industry) and submitted for the
record, contained a recommendation that :
. . . any escalation of the use of force beyond [the use of handguns for the
purpose of] self-defense would be the responsibility of the forces acting under
Government orders . . . . 2
The latter forces are envisioned to be local, State, or Federal
police who have responded to a call for assistance. The quandary
concerns how guards armed only with handguns to be used only in
self-defense (as opposed to defense of the facility or nuclear material)
could protect a facility or materials until such time as assistance from
police is available.
Following the hearings the subcommittee requested the NRC to
provide additional information concerning the ability of safeguards
systems to protect against the threats of a kind considered by the
NRC and described in section I of this report. In responding on
July 20, 197G the NRC indicated that 15 facilities, in which plutonium
or highly enriched uranium were handled, had been evaluated with
regard to their effectiveness against threats, as noted in section I,
consisting "at a minimum, of three well-armed, well-trained per-
sons, who might possess inside knowledge or assistance." This re-
view found security deficiencies in each of the 15 facilities. A sub-
sequent review found deficiencies in 7 of the 15 facilities. Security
systems at reactors apparently were not inspected with regard to
their ability to withstand threats of the kind specified above. It is
unclear from the NRC response whether security required during
transportation is sufficient to protect against the specified threat.
(The July 20 letter is attached to this report as appendix B.)
» Ibid., p. 338.
Testimony presented before the subcommittee on security in the
domestic nuclear industry was contradictory in many respects. There
was little agreement as to the nature and severity of the danger, and
the motivations of those who might engage in nuclear malevolence.
Witnesses were not in agreement with regard to the intrinsic vulnera-
bility of reactors to sabotage undertaken for the purpose of causing
a large release of radioactive materials into the environment. Similarly
there was no concensus concerning the degree of difficulty in protecting
nuclear materials against theft.
In spite of such a wide disparity in viewpoint (and to some extent
because of it) several conclusions can be drawn from the subcom-
mittee hearings and subsequent correspondence:
1. Neither the nature of the threat, nor motivations of threatening
groups or individuals is sufficiently understood. It is prudent, there-
fore, to design physical security systems on the basis of threats sub-
stantially in excess of those for which there is clear evidence.
2. A substantial discrepancy exists between the kinds of security
dangers the NRC believes to be plausible, and the kinds of security
measures required to protect against such dangers.
3. While nuclear reactors can be designed with an exceedingly
high invulnerability to sabotage of a kind that would result in release
of substantial quantities of radioactive materials into the environment,
it is not clear that such invulnerability has been achieved in practice.
4. In view of intrinsic limitations on material measurement tech-
niques; the role of material accounting systems in the overall safe-
guards process needs to be better defined.
GOVERNMENT OPERATION OF NUCLEAR MATERIAL TRANSPORTATION
Testimony was heard relating to the qnestion of whether commercial
carriers could provide adequate security for shipments of Government-
owned materials which might be fabricated into nuclear weapons.
Prior to 1975 some such materials were shipped via commercial carriers
that were required to operate in accordance with AEC regulations.
Late in 1974, the AEC decided that Government-owned materials
being transported by private carriers — which included plutonium used
in the breeder reactor development program and highly enriched
uranium destined for naval reactors — should be transported by a
Government system as soon as the Government obtained new vehicles
designed for this purpose. At the time this decision was made, the
AEC was already using its own transportation system for shipments
of nuclear materials associated with the weapons program.
The immediate significance of this decision was in the displacement
of commercial carriers who under contract to ERDA were currently
involved in transportation of Government-owned materials. The
longer term significance is that the same logic leading to this decision
could lead to a determination that adequate protection of privately
owned materials in transit would also require a Federal transportation
system in place of private carriers. While at present the number of
shipments of privately owned materials is small, that number would
increase substantially were the NRC to permit the use of plutonium
as a reactor fuel. A Federal takeover of this element of the industry
would therefore represent a major move by the Federal Government
in an area traditionally reserved to the private sector.
With regard to the possibility of the latter, Mr. Harvey E. Lyon,
Director of ERDA's Division of Safeguards and Security, testified:
I know of no decision arrived at by either the Nuclear Regulatory Commission
or ERDA at the present time for transporting privately owned material. 1
Frank Graham of the Atomic Industrial Forum testified that the
Forum's Safeguards Policy Committee was of the opinion that:
Private equipment and guards operating under Government orders would
provide appropriate security assurance. 9
Whatever the eventual decision regarding transport of privately
owned material, the current AEC/ERDA decision that Government-
owned material he transported via a Government system was criticized
by Samuel EdloW, president of Edlow International, Inc. which act-
as agent for shippers of nuclear materials:
■ [bid., p. 516.
< [bid., ;
We deplore and protest the ERDA plan under which at this very moment a
Government transportation network has already replaced private industry as a
carrier of nuclear materials, and which now threatens to expand to that point
where all of us are driven out of business in favor of a Government-owned and
operated transportation monopoly. 3
The very thought that the Government functions better than private industry
as a security organization is WTong, and is not based on facts. The attempt on the
part of Government; namely, ERDA, to usurp the security function of private
industr}^ must be stopped. The rights of small business enterprises must be
protected, and we believe they will be. 4
Let me make it abundantly clear, Mr. Chairman, that w r e believe that the
Congress and the executive have, wittingly or unwittingly, violated the very
spirit of the free enterprise system by sponsoring and supporting the replacement
of the private enterprise system by a Government-owned-and-operated monopoly. 5
On April 27 the subcommittee sought a more complete explanation
from ERDA concerning the basis for its determination that Govern-
ment-owned materials should be transported by the ERDA trans-
portation system. On June 29, 1976, ERDA informed the subcom-
mittee that a response to its request would be dela\-ed owing to the
need to respond first to a request for information from the Office' of
Management and Budget on the same matter. The OMB had asked
ERDA "certain questions and for certain analysis with respect to the
(ERDA transportation) system's expansion to handle the non-
weapons SNM (strategic nuclear material)."
The subcommittee received from ERDA on August 30, 1976, the
following response to its April 27 request:
U.S. Energy Research and Development Administration,
Washington, D.C., August 27, 1976.
Hon. Morris Udall,
House of Representatives.
Dear Mr. Udall: On June 29, 1976, I wrote to you at Dr. Seamans request
concerning the plans of the Energy Research and Development Administration
(ERDA) to extend the coverage of its existing transportation system for highway
movement of nuclear weapons to include shipment of strategic quantities of
ERDA-owned special nuclear material (SNM).
The decision to include shipments of nonweapons SNM was made by the Atomic
Energy Commission (AEC) on August 2, 1974. On March 29, 1976, after thorough
reexamination, that earlier decision was reaffirmed by the Administrator of Energy
Research and Development. In reaching this decision, the Administrator deter-
mined that the most effective and efficient security would be provided by expan-
sion of the existing ERDA system's shipments to cover all strategic quantities
of ERDA-owned SNM, and that this security was essential considering the large
number of shipments involved.
The decision to enlarge the coverage of our ERDA highway transportation
system was reached only after careful review of all the factors of comparison
between an integrated Federal system and one which would include some degree
of commercial participation. While ERDA remains firmly committed to a policy
of Reliance on the private sector to supply its needs and provide its services, we
are convinced in this particular case that there is a compelling basis for the
judgment that ERDA can best fulfill its responsibilities for transporting weapons
and strategic quantities of Government-owned SNM with the required degree of
safety and security by using its own unified, single-manager transportation
sj^stem. Among the factors supporting this judgment are: the' added deterrent
effect associated with a recognized Federal force; the enhanced authority to
command and control the integrated transportation system and the individuals
operating that sj^stem; the inherent planning and operational flexibility in a single,
3 Ibid., p. 5CM.
• Ibid., p. 507.
«Ibid., p. 507.
unified weapons SNM system; the improved cost effectiveness, management, and
manpower utilization of such a dual-purpose system; the consistency of policy
and procedures employed for each operation; the increased effectiveness of coordi-
nation and cooperation with State, local, and other Federal agencies, including
the DOl); the possible greater potential responsiveness of Government-employed
personnel to ERDA direction in an emergency; the advantages of using guards
trained for the protection of weapons for SNM shipments as well; and the assur-
ance that shipments related to military requirements would not be adversely
impacted by potential strikes or strike threats.
In summary, in reaching decisions concerning our ERDA transportation
responsibilities, we have been acutely aware of the need to optimize the security
of the transportation system. The potential for serious consequences — should
the security of SNM prove inadequate — is so great that we feel a strong obligation
to achieve maximum assurance that ERDA has done all it can to protect its
shipments of SNM as well as weapons. We believe our planned system accomp-
lishes this in the most effective and efficient manner.
Earlier this year, the Edlow International Co., a transportation management
contractor who obtains transportation services by subcontracting, requested
the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to review this matter and the
basis for the policy of using the all-Federal transportation system planned by
ERDA. In this connection, the OMB asked ERDA to provide an economic
analysis comparing the Federal system with alternatives which involved varying
degrees of participation by private industry. ERDA provided informally to
the OMB on July 7, 1976, the final version of the analysis requested. The analysis
showed that the Federal system, with its coverage extended to SNM shipment-,
could be operated more economically than options involving a split Federal/con-
tractor approach. After its review of the analysis, the OMB informed ERDA
on August 23, 1976, that it supported the decision of the Administrator of ERDA.
In view of the OMB action, we are proceeding to complete the implementation
of our plans for a unified Federal (ERDA) transportation system, to include
movement of the SNM referred to above, by October 1976.
In your letter you also inquired regarding what bearing our determination
might have on possible subsequent requirements of the Nuclear Regulatory
Commission (NRC) with respect to transportation of strategic quantities of
privately owned nuclear materials. In this regard, it is the clear position of
ERDA that its decision is not intended to influence future actions by the NRC,
nor should it be regarded as so doing. The ERDA decision stands alone on its
own merits and has been arrived at using a particular set of circumstances and
factors unique to ERDA. We believe that another Federal agency, sueh as the
NRC, could reach different determinations based on different requirement-
and considerations. Such determinations might not include a Government-
owned transportation system as a necessary feature of providing adequate security.
We do not believe that the decisions by ERDA should be regarded as constraining
to the NRC; and, in particular, we do not believe the actions being taken by
ERDA to protect its shipments should govern whatever actions the NRC might
subsequently direct regarding shipments of privately owned materials.
I should be pleased to inform you further on this matter should you so desire.
Alfred D. Starbird,
Assistant Administrator for National Security.
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission,
Washington, D.C., July 20, 1976.
Hon. Morris K. Udall,
Chairman, Subcommittee on Energy and the Environment, Committee on
Interior and Insular Affairs, U.S. House oj Representatives,
Dear Mr. Chairman: In your letter of April 20, 1976, you stated
that it was not clear whether the Nuclear Regulatory Commission
believes it necessary to protect against threats discussed by Mr.
Builder in his January 19, 1976, memorandum and by Mr. Chapman
in his February 27, 1976, testimony.
In January 1976, the NRC began a special review of safeguards
focusing on licensees who possess significant quantities of highly
enriched uranium or plutonium. Onsite evaluations were made to
assess the effectiveness of programs approved and implemented to
meet current regulations and to judge safeguards capabilities against
postulated threat levels. The capabilities of 13 licensees (involving 15
facilities) were examined. Although there are no specific threat levels
defined in our regulations, the threat levels used for this review
consisted of an internal threat of at least one employee occupying any
position and an external threat comprised, at a minimum, of three
well-armed, well-trained persons, who might possess inside knowledge
or assistance. Licensee safeguards capabilities were expected to defeat
this threat with high confidence.
This special review focused on fuel cycle facilities possessing strategic
quantities of special nuclear materials. For safeguards purposes, this
is defined as at least 2 kilograms of plutonium or 5 kilograms of
uranium-235 (contained in uranium enriched to more than 20 percent
in the U 235 isotope) .
Weaknesses relative to the threat levels used in this review were
found at each of the 15 facilities. The most prevalent weaknesses
related to control of access to significant quantities of special nuclear
material (both stored and in process), exit search procedures, and
adequacy of response by onsite and off site forces. The review teams
indicated that short-term fixes could correct most weaknesses and
that some could be resolved by procedural changes alone. On-the-
spot followup actions were initiated to correct weaknesses found.
During the initial review, guard forces of some licensees were
judged inadequate because of their stated reluctance to engage an
attacking force or because of their lack of strength in numbers. Since
then, one licensee has significantly increased his guard strength, two
others have hired more watchmen and all licensees have affirmed their
commitment to intervene to protect strategic quantities of special
On the basis of a special survey by inspectors in the NRC regional
offices, it has been determined subsequent to the review mentioned
above that all licensees have made significant improvements in their
safeguards systems. Of the 15 facilities involved in the safeguards
review, 8 facilities were judged to be adequate to withstand both the
external and internal threats defined in the second paragraph of this
letter. Of the remaining seven, one was judged adequate to protect
against the external threat but not the internal threat, four were
judged adequate to defend against the internal threat but not the
external threat, and two were judged not adequate to protect against
either threat with high confidence.
Correction of safeguards deficiencies by licensees is presently being
accomplished by XRC staff using existing inspection, enforcement,
and licensing procedures.
Through the combination of voluntary licensee corrective actions
and new license conditions, all fuel cycle licensees are expected to have
the capability to withstand as a minimum the internal and external
threats defined in the second paragraph of this letter by August 1976.
To determine that this capability has been achieved, NRC assess-
ment evaluation teams will review again all fuel cycle facilit}" safe-
guards measures onsite during August-September 1976.
In a separate series of reviews, the NRC staff has been analyzing the
vulnerability of road shipments of strategic quantities of special
nuclear materials to attack b}* one internal and three external adver-
saries having military training and skills. These reviews, conducted
with industry cooperation and assistance from U.S. Army special
forces teams have already led to improvements in commercial trans-
portation planning and scheduling and in the training of drivers and
guards. Furthermore, based upon these reviews, the NRC staff has
implemented new license conditions requiring increased protection for
strategic quantities of special nuclear material in transport.
Nuclear reactor facilities were not included in the safeguards re-
views discussed above. However, special physical security inspections
have been conducted during the period February-May 1976. These
inspections indicate that guard forces at certain reactor sites have
recently been upgraded in anticipation of a pending amendment to the
reactor safeguards regulations.
With regard to civil penalties associated with safeguards activities,
the first penalty for noncompliance was assessed in August 1974. Since
then, safeguards civil penalties have been assessed against 14 licensees
and 3 are presently pending. Only one licensee has received two civil
penalties for noncompliance with safeguards regulations.
In reply to your questions concerning the utility of monetary civil
penalties, it should be noted that civil penalties are only one of several
-auctions utilized in our enforcement program. In addition to civil
penalties, the NRC has authority to modify, suspend, or revoke
licenses. In general, these sanctions are considered to be more severe
than civil penalties, although the ranking is not a clear-cut one. In
tenhs of impact on a licensee, we generally consider that the most
severe sanction is that of revocation of the license, thus denying the
firm the ability to perform the activity subject to the license. The
selection of which enforcement sanction to be applied in a particular
LS one of the responsibilities that the N R( ! must discharge. All of
the various enforcement sanctions available to the NRC have been
used in the past and, as necessary, they will be used in the future to
obtain needed corrective action.
The NRC staff is initiating a study to examine, in more detail, the
effectiveness of the various enforcement sanctions available to it. This
study is expected to be completed before the end of this year.
I hope this letter has clarified these nuclear safeguards matters for
you. Please let me know if the Commission can be of further assistance
to your subcommittee.
Marcus A. Rowden,
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
3 1262 09114 0052